Friday, January 2, 2009

Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf

Review by Katy from What KT Reads

Just a few weeks after Milada's 11th birthday, the Nazi's snatch her family from their home. The women and (young) children are separated from the men and taken to a school where they are held for several days. Because of her Aryan features, at the end of the time in the school Milada and one other girl are taken from their families and put on a bus to Poland, where their Germanization will begin. At Milada's new school, she is treated well: plenty of food, clean clothes, her own bed, etc; but at the same time, she is forced to take on a new name (Eva), learn and speak exclusively German and accept the views of her new teachers. Eventually, Eva is adopted into a German family where she deals with trying to remember the Milada from Czechoslovakia and guilt regarding the fact that she has genuinely come to love her new German/Nazi family.

I really liked this book. It's a fictionalized account of actual events, and I had a hard time putting it down. It focuses on an aspect of WWII that I knew nothing about, and I just ate it up. I actually spent several hours yesterday looking up more information about Germinazation, Lidice (the town Milada was born in), and various other things I learned about in the book. I love books that spark (or renew) an interest in something to the degree that I actually seek out more information about the subject.

Milada is a likable character and her struggles throughout the book felt real. Especially the the times when she is trying to figure out how she can hate the Nazis and everything about them while loving her new found family, who consisted of Nazis. The conflicts seemed real, and I spent the whole book longing along with Milada to know what had happened to her family and friends.

Be sure to read the author's note in the back to learn in more detail what happened in the town of Lidice, Czechoslovakia on June 10, 1942 and survivors the author interviewed while writing this book. It's both horrifying and fascinating at the same time.

Recommended for ages 11 and up


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